November 19, 2018

Diplomatic gifting can be a tricky business to master. Well-intentioned gifts can easily go awry if the giver does not put enough care or thought into the gift.

The Pitfalls of Diplomatic Gifting

Diplomatic gift

On a recent trip to Uganda, famed rapper, Kanye West had a diplomatic gifting mishap when he gave Yoweri Museceni, the president of Uganda, a pair of signed Yeezy trainers (Kanye’s shoe line). The president was reportedly puzzled and asked if they were for playing football. A diplomatic gift should be thoughtful, have meaning and be considerate of the receiver’s culture and history. Using a gift in order to promote one’s own brand can often lead to confusion.

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Diplomatic gifting done the right way

We feel it’s best to stick to a meaningful diplomatic gift in order to show the recipient that you were seriously thinking about them. Australia’s recent diplomatic gift to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is a perfect gift example that conveyed a personalized message to the receiver in addition to representing the giver’s country. A recent article from the Pressreader explains more about the art of gifting:

Pint-sized Ugg boots, a toy kangaroo and a pair of Yeezy trainers – there are no rules about gift-giving on the international circuit.

After touching down in Australia, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex received the first of baby gifts since Meghan Markle’s pregnancy was announced, including the aforementioned footwear and toy marsupial. A palpable hit, presumably, as Prince Harry appeared particularly ecstatic to receive the tiny boots.

A personal touch means taking a leaf out of the Australian playbook and keep things local (Uggs are and Australian affliction). Showcasing the best of your country is a golden rule to follow. Fidel Castro gave out Cuban Cigars, France is known to hand out bottles of wine. Yet this can backfire. In 2012, David Cameron gave Barack Obama a ping pong table by the British brand Dunlop. It was made in China.

If you need a truly unique diplomatic gift, contact the experts at Keith Lipert Corporate Gifts to assist you. We’ve been creating bespoke corporate and diplomatic gifts for over 30 years.